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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

Aadhaar linking: Facebook asks SC to club HC cases

Facebook’s petition says cases have been filed in the High Courts of Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh and relief sought in all are similar.

india Updated: Aug 20, 2019 00:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Facebook Inc has moved the Supreme Court asking it to hear cases pending in three High Courts to link social media accounts with the 12-digit Aadhaar number.
Facebook Inc has moved the Supreme Court asking it to hear cases pending in three High Courts to link social media accounts with the 12-digit Aadhaar number.(Reuters Photo)
         

Facebook Inc has moved the Supreme Court asking it to hear cases pending in three High Courts to link social media accounts with the 12-digit Aadhaar number. The petition says cases have been filed in the High Courts of Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh and relief sought in all are similar. Therefore, the petitions should be clubbed and heard by the top court, the company has prayed before the court.

Facebook’s petition came up for hearing before a bench led by Justice Deepak Gupta, which said it will take up the matter on Tuesday. The Tamil Nadu government opposed the plea and said Facebook had promised to co-operate before the Madras High Court, which has heard the matter 18 times.

Attorney General KK Venugopal and Additional Advocate General Balaji Srinivasan asked the court to refrain itself from transferring the matter to SC. They suggested letting the HC adjudicate the issue before the top court takes up the matter.

The HC, bench was told, has expanded the PIL’s scope to consider the online abuse and circulation of fake news through social media. It has also sought to define the liabilities of the intermediaries in cases of fake news and cyber abuse. One aspect being looked into by the HC is whether the number of the originator of fake news can be forwarded with the message to the recipient. A bench of justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad had on April 25 directed the Tamil Nadu government to arrange an interactive session between the law enforcement agencies and intermediaries to discuss means to tackle online abuse.

“Transfer would serve the interests of justice by avoiding the possibility of conflicting decisions from the four common cases. Indeed, avoiding conflicting decisions is particularly necessary here to ensure that users are afforded equal privacy protections across India, and to prevent the infeasible situation where the petitioner, which operates a uniform platform throughout India, is ordered to link AAdhaar information only for users in certain Indian states but not others,” read FAcebook’s petition.

The common questions in all the petitions before HCs involve the interpretation of important central law (including the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019) which would directly impact the Centre and State.

“Transfer would serve the interests of judicial economy and avoid forcing the parties to litigate the same issue in multiple forums,” the petition read.

First Published: Aug 19, 2019 23:42 IST

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